Sunday, April 25, 2021

Thanks to Collecting Cutch I know I'm still a player collector!

If you saw my post yesterday, you know that I am no longer a Diamondbacks team collector. Now this doesn't mean that I am throwing out all of my Diamondbacks cards. It also doesn't mean that I won't add Diamondbacks cards to my collection. I just don't feel obligated to try to collect every single Diamondbacks card ever made. In addition, I'm still a set collector (Topps base sets 1981 - current), vintage collector, and player collector. I also enjoy picking up various cards that I find interesting or cool.

I mentioned Night Owl's comment that got me thinking about my collecting habits, but it was actually a RAK package from Collecting Cutch that helped me decide that I am still absolutely a player collector. You see, my focus recently has been on vintage. I've been trying to finish up a few vintage sets (1970, 1971 and 1973 Topps) recently and have been picking up "well loved" Hall of Fame rookie cards and other vintage cards recently.

Collecting Cutch had asked me via Twitter if I needed this Goldschmidt card and I told him I did. 

Brian said he would send it to me. Knowing that this card was coming, I was surprised that a small box showed up in my mailbox. Not only did Brian send me the Allen & Ginter jersey card, he sent me a few other Goldschmidt cards and a couple of Brandon Webb "cards" as well.

I was so shocked by the other cards in the package that I didn't realize until the next day that this 2017 Bowman Holiday card was the Turkey version and numbered 01/35.

Brian sent me another Goldschmidt numbered 1/x. This is a 1/1 sketch card done by Jayson Johnson!

The date on the back indicates that this was done just 16 days after Goldschmidt was traded to the Cardinals. Oh how I wish the Diamondbacks wouldn't have traded him.

This National Treasures Notable Nicknames autograph was the icing on the cake. 

I know a lot of people give Panini a hard time, but they usually do a fantastic job given their restrictions. This is a beautiful card and I don't miss the logos. The fact that it's numbered out of 25 is just icing....on the icing.

Next up are a couple of Brandon Webb "cards" that Brian included in his package. First up is a 2006 Konami card from Japan.

Here is the back.

The final "card" in the package is this yellow 3x5 index card from the 2006 All-Star Game. Brian included a note that included some insight into this unique item. These cards were given to each player to fill in their ring size and turn in so that they could get their All-Star Game ring.

I know it's a bit hard to tell, but you can see where Brandon tried to sign his name, but the pen didn't work, so he tried scribbling at the top, but the pen still didn't work. Then he turned it over and tried again. This time with a bigger area. He then got another pen that worked and signed it. At least that's the story I have created in my mind after taking a look at it. As far as the ring size goes, I'm guessing he put 12 1/2 and then when he went to turn it in they offered to measure his finger and then they crossed out 12 1/2 and wrote in 11. I mean this was his first All-Star game, so he hadn't ordered a ring before. Again, that's the story I have created and I'm sticking to it. I love it. I absolutely love it!

Thank you Brian for the RAK package! I loved everything and it reaffirmed that I am still a player collector! 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

I am no longer a team collector

The other day my wife and I were trying to decide what to do for dinner. Nothing sounded good. Nothing. Not even pizza. I was thinking it, but my wife actually said it out loud. I agreed with her and briefly thought back to a time as a child when I remember saying that I would love to eat pizza every day. 

I still like pizza, but it just didn't sound good at the time. 

Earlier this month I posted about the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge set that I am working on. Night Owl posted this comment and I realize why he said what he said.

When I started collecting cards, I pretty much just bought packs and tried to put together sets. Big occasions like Christmas would sometimes bring boxes. I liked certain players like Don Mattingly and Dwight Gooden when I first entered the card collecting hobby, but their rookie cards were out of reach financially for me by the time I entered the hobby in 1988, so I didn't really consider myself a Mattingly or Gooden collector at the time. 

In 1990 I decided decided to pick a favorite player, that I would collect. It was between Robin Ventura and Ken Griffey Jr. I picked Ken Griffey Jr, just like every other kid my age and started "collecting" his cards. Which at the time, meant setting the aside when I pulled them from packs and making sure they made it into plastic pages and one the only binder I had at the time. The first singles I remember buying were two "vintage" 1976 Topps Hank Aaron cards; his base card and a Record Breaker card. But most of my meager income during my childhood continued to go towards packs and boxes rather than high priced vintage; although I spent hours of my youth scanning the newspaper print pages of Beckett, dreaming about Topps cards from the 50's, 60's and 70's.

We didn't have a big league team where I lived when I was a kid. Not sure why I felt I needed to have a favorite team, but I did, and I picked the Dodgers. Maybe it was because they were close by. Maybe it was because I thought the LA logo was really cool. I think some of it had to do with the streak of Rookie of the Year winners from 1992 - 1996. They always had fun and exciting young players. Mike Piazza became my number two guy. I collected him and Griffey. They were great choices because not only were they in every set being produced, but they were in virtually every insert set as well.

Then in 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks took the field for the first time. I was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona and still live in the area. I attended Opening Day back in 1998 and have been a D-Backs fan ever since. As a card collector I was excited when Diamondbacks cards started showing up in packs in 1997 and became a team collector for the first time.

With a team to collect, the player collector in me kicked in and I started collecting certain D-Back players like Travis Lee, Randy Johnson, Luis Gonzalez, Brandon Webb, Justin Upton, Ryan Roberts, and Paul Goldschmidt.

Set Collector to Player Collector to Team Collector; always wanting to be a Vintage Collector.

So what happens when you collect sets, various players, a team and add in vintage? You run out of space and money. That's what happens. Something has got to give.

I no longer by packs and boxes. Oh sure, every once in a while I will pick up a retail box or a few packs here and there, but 95% of my collecting budget goes towards singles. Most of the singles at this point are vintage, hall of fame rookies, cards to complete sets, players I collect, or just cards that I think are cool. What I'm not buying right now are random Diamondbacks cards. 

I am no longer a team collector. Wow, that was hard to say, but it feels good at the same time.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

A Tribute To Little League Coaches Everywhere

On March 29th I attended the funeral of the father of one of my friends from grade school and high school. He was also one of my Little League coaches when I was on the A's.

I played 4 years of Little League between 1990 - 1993. I was 9, 10, 11, and 12 years old during this time.  I was on the Yankees, A's, Cubs and Rockies. I was never the greatest player, but I loved playing baseball.

I also loved getting packs of baseball cards from the snack bar after our games. Sometimes we would get snacks after the game, but often times we would get tickets that could be redeemed at the snack bar for candy, soda, or in my case, baseball cards. I remember using my tickets and other spare change for packs of Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Score. 

I remember a couple of things about my time with the A's. We had a girl on our team. This was the only time in my Little League career that we had a girl on my team. She was good too. Another thing unique about my time on the A's was that at practice after a game, the coach would give out these little cloth white stars as recognition for a great play or hit. These were then sown on the backs of our hats. I don't have my hat anymore, so I don't know how many starts I got during the course of the season, but I have a pretty good idea know that the coach looked for ways to recognize everyone on the team got a good number of stars, but I also don't think he shy'd away from giving out stars to those kids that really deserved them. 

On November 22, 2020 my friend posted the following about a visit with his dad, my former coach. "I love listening to him talk about sports and coaching. Yesterday we talked about the importance of the kids at the bottom of the order (baseball lineup), and how they can have a great impact in a game. Make sure you build up everyone on the team and don't rely solely on just your best players. Opportunities for great moments can come from anyone." This confirmed my suspicions about his attitude towards the stars and recognizing every players contributions.

After the funeral, which was held at a church building near my high school, I made my way to The Batter's Box card shop which was just a few miles away. I use cards, right or wrong, as a distraction from sadness. I went to a card show the day after my mother passed away. I just needed some relief. I needed something to take my mind off of the pain and sadness. 

I looked at everything in the shop, and if money had been no object, I'm sure I would have made a more substantial purchase, but I picked up just these four cards (only 3 different). While these cards were produced just after my time in Little League, each of these players was a star while I was swinging my Dwight Gooden aluminum bat and using my George Brett glove while donning a Yankee, A's, Cubs and Rockies hat and jersey out on the baseball fields behind Sunburst Elementary School back in the early 1990's.

I grabbed this 1997 Fleer Ultra RBI King for my quest for 762 different Barry Bonds cards. This one set me back 59 cents.

This 1995 Select Certified Mirror Gold parallel of Mark Grace also cost 59 cents. Such a good deal that I grabbed two of the same card. These aren't anywhere near the rarity of the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Golds, but they are estimated to just 1873 copies.

This 1994 Collector's Choice Gold Parallel is my favorite of the three cards that I picked up. These came one per box and 5 per factory set, so they are pretty rare. When you consider this is a 670 card set, the odds of getting any one particular player are extremely high, so I considered adding a Puckett to my collection for $1.59 a bargain.

While I didn't grab anything big, I'm happy with the cards that I picked up and hopefully they will always remind of my Little League coach. My three boys have all played Little League. I have one that is still playing. I've had a chance to coach or be an assistant coach for each of them. I haven't coached in a couple of years though due to my work schedule and I appreciate now more than ever the time and effort put in by men and women who volunteer as Little League coaches.

Friday, April 2, 2021

5 out of 12 is 41.6%, but I'm happy!

Back in I posted about the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge set. About a month ago I went to a card shop and happened to arrive while their auction was going on. I wasn't planning on bidding on anything because I hadn't had a chance to look anything over ahead of time. Even when this lot of twelve Deckle Edge cards came up I wasn't going to bid because I thought the odds of me needing many, wouldn't be likely since I only needed 11 of the 35 cards. But then the auctioneer mentioned that the lot included the Jim Wynn card. I decided to bid, just based on that card alone. I ended up getting it for around $8. I'm glad I did. 

Not only did it have the Jim Wynn card, but there were 4 other cards I needed as well, so now I'm down to just needing 5 cards. ***Update - As of 7/15/21 I need just 3 cards to complete the set.***

#2 - Boog Powell

#4 - Carl Yastremski

#6 - Luis Aparicio

#11a - Hoyt Wilhelm

#11b - Jim Wynn

#16 - Frank Howard

#20 - Tommy Helms

#22a - Rusty Staub

#22b - Joe Foy

#26 - Richie Allen

#29 - Bob Gibson

If you have any of the cards I still need, please let me know and maybe we can work something out.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Quality over Quantity or Vice Versa?

I'm a fan of the Topps All-Star glossy sets. I am keeping track of my progress for completing the run here.

Currently I am missing the 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1991 sets. I have a few cards from these sets, including this 1984 Topps 1983 All-Star Dale Murphy card shown below. 

I collect Dale Murphy cards. I pick up his cards when I see them in a dime box. I do have his rookie card and a certified autograph, but the majority of the cards I have of his are like the card below; base cards that are for the most part, readily available.

Looking at the picture of Dale Murphy on this card has me thinking about what it would be like to pick a card or two of my favorite players, those players that I currently collect like Murphy, and just call it good. Could I be happy with his rookie card and the Sweet Spot auto that I have and stop picking up his cards from dime boxes? It would save me a few little money, but more importantly it would save me space.

I have these types of thoughts every so often. I haven't ever been able to pull the trigger though. I think if I were to go this route with Murphy I would have to also include his 1989 Upper Deck reverse negative card. Who knows, maybe one day I will find one that slipped into a dime box by mistake. I guess I better keep scouring those dime boxes.

How about you Quality over Quantity or Quantity over Quality?